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17 "Star Wars" And "Dune" Similarities That Seemingly Tie The Franchises Together

A galaxy far, far away was influenced by Dune.

Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of Dune is set to hit theaters, and critics are already hailing it as the next Star Wars.

Luke in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" and Paul in "Dune"
Lucasfilm/Warner Bros. / Via YouTube

Many viewers are quick to point out the comparisons between both films, and with the 1965 Dune novel having a huge influence on George Lucas's space opera, it's no surprise that they share so many similarities. With that in mind, let's take a look at the 17 Dune and Star Wars similarities that every sci-fan fan can appreciate! 


17. The Setting

The Millenium Falcon flying to Yavin IV in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"
Lucasfilm / Via

Both stories take place on distant planets in futuristic settings. But whereas Star Wars takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Dune takes place tens of thousands of years in the future, long after humanity has colonized the stars. There are also more direct references to the planet Earth in Frank Herbert's novel, with it referred to as Old Earth or Old Terra. It is still the place where humanity first originated, but it has long since been abandoned after humans took to the stars.

16. The Stellar Scope

X-Wing Fighters flying towards the Death Star in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"
Lucasfilm / Via

True to their nature as space operas, both stories are cosmic in scale. But while Star Wars stretches across an entire galaxy, the events of Dune mainly take place on a handful of planets, particularly on the battleground planet Arrakis. Nevertheless, the Corrino Empire in Dune extends across the universe itself, much like the Galactic Empire.

15. Tatooine and Arrakis

The planet Arrakis in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via

The presence of Tatooine alone highlights the influence that Dune had on George Lucas — with Luke Skywalker growing up on the planet until he decides to help fight the Empire. Dune's Arrakis is also a sandy planet that thrusts viewers into a galactic battle that may change the galaxy forever. 

14. Sandworms and Krayt Dragons

Paul and co. encountering a sandworm in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via YouTube

Star Wars has no shortage of giant alien creatures, but one, in particular, is very similar to Dune's sandworms: the Krayt dragons. These reptilian beasts are native to Tatooine, and are feared by the native Jawas and even the Tusken Raiders. Similar to the sandworms, these dragons are considered mythical by the people of Tatooine. We've only seen one dragon onscreen in The Mandalorian, with the titular bounty hunter battling the great beast just like how Paul is set to take on a sandworm.

13. Droids and Thinking Machines

C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tatooine in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"
Lucasfilm / Via

One of the most recognizable aspects of the Star Wars universe is the presence of droids and artificial intelligence, but the futuristic world of Dune is quite the opposite. Though technologically advanced, humanity rejected the use of A.I., or "thinking machines," after seeing how their lives were being dominated by them. In the end, all sentient machines were destroyed in the Butlerian Jihad, and any production of them was banned throughout the universe with the phrase, "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."

12. Hyperspace and Space-folding

Han Solo and Chewbacca going into hyperspace in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"
Lucasfilm / Via

Interstellar travel is essential to both universes, but the way they each achieve it is different. In Star Wars, the technology in starships allows them to achieve light speed and jump into hyperspace. But in Dune, this process is called "space-folding," which is achieved through the use of Guild Navigators. These navigators are humanoids who have evolved after consuming and immersing themselves in massive amounts of the spice Melange. As a result, they have gained the ability to warp time and space. The spice's use for space travel thus makes it an essential and sought-after resource of the Corrino Empire.

11. Lightsabers and Crysknives

Paul with a crysknife in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via

Like the Jedi and their lightsabers, Fremen have crysknives as their weapon of choice. While lightsabers are made from Force-sensitive kyber crystals, crysknives are instead made from the teeth of dead sandworms. And whereas lightsabers can burn through almost anything, crysknives are often laced with a lethal poison. 

10. The Stormtroopers and Sardaukar

Stormtroopers walking inside the Death Star in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"
Lucasfilm / Via

Another recognizable part of Star Wars is the Stormtroopers, known for their crisp, white armor and laser blasters. Dune also presents a special military force called the Sardaukar, who fanatically serve under Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in the Corrino Empire. Though they are not servants of House Harkonnen, Shaddam secretly inducted them into the Harkonnen infantry to help wipe out House Atreides, and their cruelty and fighting prowess are a terror to behold. Like Stormtroopers, the Sardaukar specialize in firearms, as well as hand-to-hand combat with swords and daggers. You may not be frightened by the occasional buffoonery of Stormtroopers, but you do not want to cross paths with the Sardaukar.

9. Leia and Irulan

Princess Leia wielding a blaster in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"
Lucasfilm / Via

Like Star Wars, Dune has a princess character as well. Named Irulan, she has a complicated relationship with the protagonist, to say the least. Princess Leia initially had a romantic connection with Luke before it was revealed that they were twins. On the other hand, Irulan had no blood relation with Paul, whom she ended up marrying at the end of Dune after her father surrendered control of the Empire. Though Leia ended up becoming one of Luke's most trusted allies, Irulan conspired against Paul after learning he only had eyes for his concubine, Chani. I take it there's no couples counseling on Arrakis.

8. Emperor Palpatine and Emperor Shaddam IV

Chancellor Palpatine in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"
Lucasfilm / Via

Darth Vader and the Harkonnen are put up front as main antagonists in their respective stories, but they each have dark masters watching everything unfold. Seeing Leto Atreides as a growing threat to his control over the Empire, Shaddam enlists the help of Baron Harkonnen to wipe them out, using the feud between House Atreides and the Harkonnens to disguise his involvement in this conspiracy. Much like Emperor Palpatine, Shaddam manipulates everyone from the shadows to fight his battles for him.

7. The Jedi and Fremen

Chani on Arrakis in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via

Though the Jedi were guardians of peace throughout the galaxy, the Fremen started out as victims of the Harkonnen's imperialism. The Fremen eventually rose up against the invaders and the Empire in its entirety. However, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Fremen made their home on the desert planet, Arrakis, waiting until they were called into action by the protagonist.

6. The Skywalkers and House Atreides

Leto, Gurney, and co. in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via

Star Wars has very much been about the Skywalkers and their battle against the Sith, and the story of Dune follows House Atreides in their similar battle against the Harkonnens. Though the Skywalkers were initially a family of slaves and farmers in the desert, House Atreides were royals who ruled over the ocean world of Caladan. However, as the story goes, Paul makes the desert world of Arrakis his home as he becomes the Fremen's messiah.

5. The Force and The Spice

Paul and Chani with blue eyes in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via

Both stories depict a religious culture centered around a particular source of energy. For Dune, this energy takes the form of the spice Melange. Like the Force, the spice gives the user the ability to see multiple futures, expanding their mental capabilities, while also strengthening their health, extending their youth, and increasing their life expectancy. It is also vital for space travel. Users of the spice are also distinguished by their deep, blue eyes. Unfortunately, the spice has a dark side as well, as it can be extremely addictive, and massive exposure to it can drastically change the entire body. 

4. Anakin and Paul

Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"
Lucasfilm / Via

Though Paul's character and journey have more in common with Luke, they still have striking similarities to the latter's father, Anakin, as well. Paul is heroic, much like Luke, and has a destiny to right the wrongs in the universe. However, his quest for peace and control over the Empire also has disastrous consequences (much like it did for Anakin). At the end of Dune, after overthrowing the Corrino Empire, Paul loses control over the Fremen as they unleash a jihad across the entire universe in his name. Like Anakin, Paul is a tragic figure whose quest for peace, though well intentioned, leads to more death and destruction.

3. Darth Vader and Baron Harkonnen

Baron Harkonnen in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via

Neither of these stories would be true epics without their truly memorable villains. While Darth Vader is known for his cyborg body and his suit that helps him breathe, Baron Harkonnen is morbidly obese to the point that he relies on anti-gravity "suspensors" to support his body. Though the trope of the villain with an impediment is considered by some to be tired and offensive, both villains are nevertheless memorable for their desire, ruthlessness, and penchant for genocide. Both villains also have familial connections to the protagonist, with Baron Harkonnen being Lady Jessica's father, making him Paul's grandfather. Talk about family issues.

2. Mahdi and the Chosen One

Paul staring into the distance in "Dune"
Warner Bros. / Via

For those of you who've seen the prequels, Anakin Skywalker was believed to be the Chosen One prophesized to bring balance to the Force. Similar to him, Paul becomes indoctrinated into the Fremen society, who believe him to be the Mahdi, or "The One Who Will Lead Us to Paradise." Though reluctant to take up the role of their messiah, he takes up the name "Muad'Dib" and leads the Fremen against the Harkonnens and the Empire as a whole. The roles both characters are given put a heavy weight on their shoulders, but Dune explores more of the darker consequences of acting as a savior.

1. Luke and Paul

Luke staring at the twin suns on Tatooine in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"
Lucasfilm / Via

The protagonist of each story follows the model of a young man who is thrust into a grand adventure that will determine the fate of their universe. We all know Luke Skywalker as the young farm boy from Tatooine who would grow up to fight the Empire and become a Jedi. But Paul is the heir to House Atreides, who is thrust into a war against House Harkonnen and the Corrino Empire for control over the planet Arrakis. Luke and Paul would each overthrow their respective governments and ultimately help establish a new world order, making their adventures truly legendary.

Are there any other Dune and Star Wars comparisons that you can think of? Let us know below in the comments!